The festival of Navratri dedicated to Goddess Durga is just around the corner. The nine nights of Navratri is one of the most widely celebrated festivals in India. Devotees of the Goddess observe a ritualistic fast during which they stay away from meat, alcohol, and ingredients such as garlic, onion and common salt.
If you plan to fast during the nine days, now is the right time to stock up your kitchen with these vrat essentials. Go on a healthy detox and give your body a much-needed nutritional boost, with these Navratri ingredients.
Kuttu or Buckwheat
Kuttu, also known as buckwheat, is a gluten-free meal option that will be an integral part of your Navratri prep. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), the grain is highly nutritional food and has a wide range of health benefits such as plasma cholesterol level reduction, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic effects. It is also known for its prebiotic and antioxidant activities. Kuttu helps you stay energised throughout the day. You can use kuttu ka atta (buckwheat flour) to make pakoras, puri, cutlet, paratha, healthy pancakes and more.
Sabudana or Sago Pearls
Sabudana or sago pearls is made from the starch extracted from the tapioca root. Sago is composed mainly of carbohydrates with practically no fat or salt and also has little protein. It has a cooling effect on the body, and is easy to digest. Though it is easy to digest, it is digested slowly, which means it keeps you feeling full for a longer time. It is one of the essential vrat ingredients and no Navratri is thali is complete without some delicious sabudana khichdi or deep fried crispy sabudana vada.
Rajgira or Amaranth
Amaranth, which is colloquially known as ramdana or rajgira, is another highly nutritious grain with a superior amount of proteins, dietary fibre and iron. NCBI report mentions the health benefits attributed to this superfood include stimulating the immune system, reducing blood glucose levels and improving anemia. It has been reported to possess anti-allergic and antioxidant activities as well, which makes it a perfect ingredient to stock up during this season. You can easily make amaranth porridge with the grains or make paratha or puri with amaranth flour that is easily available at your local grocery store.
Fox nuts popularly known as Makhana, are nothing but lotus seeds. They are low in sodium and fat, high in calcium, potassium and magnesium. Makhana is the go-to healthy snack for a lot of weight-watchers and has been known to be an essential part of traditional oriental medicine for kidney problems, chronic diarrhea, and hypofunction of the spleen. You can include makhana in different ways in your nine-day long diet. You can stick to the puffed, dry roasted makhana with spices as an evening snack option or stir fry it and have it as a side dish. You can also make a delicious kheer using fox nuts.
Singhara or Water Chestnut
Singhara is another gluten-free ingredient that can be part of your everyday diet and not just during the Navratri. Singhara or water chestnut has high flavonoid content, B vitamins (including B1, B2, B5 and B6), E, A. It is also a strong antioxidant and known for its antimicrobial properties, says a study by NCBI. You can easily make some savoury singhara chillas, khichdi or even some halwa with a dash of desi ghee to satiate your sweet tooth. Always try to stick to roasting and boiling all the vrat ingredients instead of deep frying them.
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